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This week I received an email from Matt.
He writes…

“Hi Clint,
I’ve got a question and your advice would be very much appreciated:
I have been following a three day a week RPT programme for the last 8 months. I’m keen to try something new.
I took your advice in April and followed Martin Berkhan’s programme and saw excellent fat loss and strength gains. I now want to try something new for a few months & Rusty’s Visual Impact programme has always intrigued me.
However, Martin seems to have a massive problem with doing weights AND HIIT on the same day, saying it is counter productive, f*ckarounditis etc.
Now, you say you’ve combined fasting with parts of Rusty’s programme.
How do you do this exactly and have you seen any negative effects?
Thanks for your help buddy.

A: Ok Matt, here’s the deal…

Can you combine intermittent fasting with a normal training program?

You can, but you need to be extra careful on how you consume your calories pre/post workout and when your 8 hour eating window is (if you follow the lean gains protocol). It the example I have often cited, I’ll fast for 16 hours from 8.30pm at night until 12.30pm the next day.

The caveat being – I train at 6am in the morning. That’s where your BCAA intake is of utmost importance to prevent muscle catabolism. I’ve outlined how I fast and train in this post here >

How would you combine intermittent fasting with a program such as Visual Impact Muscle Building?

The biggest issue for us ‘intermittent fasters’ is that intense forms of cardio around the periods we aren’t eating is detrimental to our muscle gains. You might find that the additional HIIT that Rusty recommends in Visual Impact will send you backwards instead of forwards in your goal to achieve physical awesomeness.

How would you mesh them together then?

I’d fast as normal, but then remove all of the HIIT cardio recommended in the Visual Impact guide and replace it either with nothing, or with 10mins of low-intensity exercise (either on the treadmill or cross-trainer). If you MUST do some HIIT as you can’t live without it, perhaps do it on a rest day or at the very least, make sure it’s done during your feeding window.

For more about lean gains, check out this link here >
To checkout my own experiences with Visual Impact, check out the male version here > and the female version here >

Clint’s Note: Got any questions you’d like answered about your diet and training? Ask them below.

Clint Nielsen

Author Clint Nielsen

Clint is a dad and husband trying to stay in shape. He's also a highly opinionated fitness enthusiast and author of Reveal The Steel. Follow him on: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Google+

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Join the discussion 5 Comments

  • Paul d says:


    Good advice above. When you leaned down as much as you did, did you maintain the same calorie deficit for an extended period of time, or did you keep dropping your calories incrementally as the diet progressed? Also, do you cycle carb and fats in line with leangains outlines and what macros and calories are you using relative to bodyweight? Paul d

  • Clint,

    I’m currently following the Lean Gains protocol and I do all of my training during my feeding window usually in between my first and second meals. So far, so good. Haven’t noticed any muscle loss. I do separate strength training days from HIIT days, though.


  • Robert says:

    With all the benefits fasting offers, everyone should try and work it into their program in some fashion. The big deterrent is the “eat 567 times a day or DIE” myth which is everywhere in the health and fitness mainstream community.

  • Good advice Clint. It’s easy to get excited about “getting in shape” … building muscle or losing fat. When that happens there’s a tendency to go ALL OUT … this can be good but also, it can be bad when ones start to combine approaches that are too extreme for one another or simply don’t mesh.

    I like your advice on training and fasting.


  • Clint Nielsen says:

    @Paul D
    I maintained the same calories. I didn’t have an end goal (photo shoot, vacation) to aim for, so i wasn’t after a ‘peak’ look.
    In terms of macros and calories etc, I haven’t tracked those bad-boys for quite a long time.
    I track ‘visual’ changes through photos etc. If i feel like I’m adding fat, ill monitor whats causing it. It might be carbs, or it could be fluid-retention from high sodium intake. Always monitoring and adjusting.

    I’ll be interested to see how your results are with that method of training (during feeding window). Do you find lethargy or strength loss at all compared with training during a fasted state?

    Thankfully, this myth has finally been abolished :)

    Keeping a specific goal in mind, i find works a lot better than trying to do everything at once.

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